If the Food and Drug Administration has its way, false or deceptive claims on cannabidiol (CBD) labels will be under greater scrutiny in the near future. An April 2 announcement by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb sought to re-emphasize the regulatory agency's role in protecting consumers from fraudulent or unproven product claims.
With consumer interest growing in products derived from cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) and its components, including cannabidiol (CBD), the FDA acted to preserve its authority over cannabis derivatives that are marketed as dietary supplements, medications, animal foods and drugs, conventional foods, cosmetics and other related products.
One day later, in a separate but related development, Commissioner Gottlieb expressed his concern over major retailers such as CVS and Walgreens selling CBD-infused topical products like salves and creams in their stores. CNBC reported that Gottlieb, speaking at a House Appropriations Committee hearing, said he's uneasy because the retailers may "market CBD products for some uses where the claims seem to be potentially over the line, for the treatment of pain for example."
FDA action plan
Gottlieb's April 2 statement served to launch a new FDA framework for overseeing the "lawful marketing" of cannabis and cannabis-derived products. The plan would include:
- A May 31 hearing seeking public comment and giving stakeholders an opportunity to share their experiences and challenges with these products, including information and views concerning product safety.
- Establishment of a high-level internal agency working group intended to discuss potential pathways for dietary supplements and/or conventional foods containing CBD to be brought to market, specifically what statutory or regulatory changes might be needed and what the impact of such marketing would be on the public health.
- FDA website updates which would include answers to frequently asked questions on the subject of cannabis products, to assist consumers in understanding how FDA requirements apply to these products.
- Multiple warning letters being sent to companies marketing CBD products with "egregious and unfounded claims that are aimed at vulnerable populations."
The industry responds
Cannabis-focused marketers like Leafly have already started taking action, encouraging consumers to make their opinions known to the FDA at the upcoming public hearing. Leafly said the FDA would be seeking feedback on three specific aspects of CBD and infused products: health and safety risks; manufacturing and product quality; and marketing, labeling and sales.
If you're working to ensure your cannabis and cannabis-derived products stay up-to-date with changing regulations, a good place to start is by choosing from our selection of label printers at Optimedia Labs' U.S. page and our Canadian site.